She’s three. And she was acting three.
Pushing limits, listening selectively.
I pled with her to please be a good listener.
She ignored me. Looked past me.
At a loss for how to reach her, I reminded her that we treat the people we love with respect, and we show that by listening.
I questioned, “You love Mommy, don’t you?”
It was rhetorical, asked thoughtlessly.
She paused, turned, looked me straight in the eye, and replied, “no.”
She said no.
Her hazel eyes locked onto mine, waiting for a reaction.
I was frozen. Paralyzed and shocked.
Who was this child?
This was the first time that she’ll say this to me. It won’t be the last.
But, she’s three.
I counted. 1, 2, 3, how could she say that to me?
4, 5 6, how do I even respond to that?
7, 8, 9, 10…breathe, Nichole, just breathe…
I told her I was sorry to hear that because I loved her very much.
And I walked away.
And I breathed in and out.
Moments passed. Three, maybe five.
She came to me. Placed her hand ever-so-gently on my arm, and asked for a hug.
I pulled her close and breathed her in.
She said she was sorry. She touched my cheek with her fingertips. Tender as a whisper.
Those same hazel eyes locked onto mine. She said she loved me.
In that moment, she was my baby again.
But, minutes before, all I saw were visions of her as a teenager. Years of pushing and pulling. Yelling and hugs.
I’m not ready for this yet.